Sunday, September 29, 2013


I downloaded an app on my phone called Sketch Guru. It allows you to the pictures from your photo gallery and alter them with different art styles: pencil sketches, watercolor, even a comic book screen. I've been having fun making photos into fun art work...all for free!

This is one of my favorites. It's Nate in Hawaii posing with a giant Tiki.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Roasted Marinara Sauce

I searched the web for recipes after going a bit overboard with my tomato picking. I found this recipe on my favorite coupon website. It was so simple and is so flavorful. This will definitely be my go-to recipe in the future!

Start by coring your tomatoes and placing them in two 9x13 glass baking pans. Squeeze in the quartered onions and garlic. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Use more salt than you think you should!

Roast at 425 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or when the tomatoes have broken down and are starting to get a nice char.

Set aside to cool. I then used tongs and plucked up the tomatoes and threw them in the food processor to blend along with the fresh basil. Be sure to reserve the tomato liquid from the roasting! Add to the completed sauce to reach the desired consistency. Or use the liquid for something else. I made minestrone soup and dumped some of the liquid in for flavor...yum!

The sauce is flavorful not to mention pretty with the flecks of basil. I never added the tomato paste the recipe calls for and don't think it's lacking. I froze 3 cups of sauce in 1-quart bags. It freezes well and retains that taste of Summer!

Roasted Marinara Sauce


(The amounts listed in this recipe are just a good place to start. Adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes.)

8 c. cherry tomatoes or 24 medium tomatoes
2 medium onions, quartered
8-10 garlic cloves, peeled
olive oil
basil leaves
1-3 cans tomato paste, optional


Wash and stem the cherry tomatoes or wash and core the whole tomatoes. Split them evenly, in a single layer, between 2 9×13″ baking dishes. The larger tomatoes can be left whole; they will break down during the roasting process. Toss the quartered onions and peeled garlic cloves evenly between the two pans. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt.

Roast at 425 for 30-40 minutes. The timing isn’t an exact science. The combination will smell incredibly fragrant, and the tomatoes and onions will look wrinkled, roasted, and slightly charred. For a thicker sauce, cook longer and stir occasionally to keep from burning. Remove the pans from the oven and set on the counter to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Place a large colander inside a large bowl and dump the pans into the colander to strain out the juice. Set the juice aside.

Scoop the tomato mixture into the bowl of a blender or food processor; add the basil leaves. Puree until it reaches the desired consistency. Dump the pureed tomato sauce into the reserved juice and stir until thoroughly combined. Season with additional salt, if needed. (You could also add tomato paste if you desire a thicker sauce.)

Serve immediately as pasta or pizza sauce or freeze in plastic containers or bags for later use.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Tips - Potty Training

A big trend in potty training is to go diaper-less and pants-less. Apparently the little tyke will be able to better recognize the need to go. My tip for today is that if you decide to do this, make sure your kiddo is not on carpet. I might be saying this from experience.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Best Buddies

We're heading to Nate's best school buddy's birthday party today. His name is Ty and the two have been inseparable since the first day of preschool last year. They greet each other each school day with a "hey buddy" or "good morning bud".

Nate drew this picture for Ty's birthday card. You can definitely tell who is who!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I went to pick tomatoes and came back with 40 pounds. I tend to get carried away when I pick. My goal was to make tomato sauce and tomato paste to freeze and use throughout the year. I tried out three new recipes and was thrilled with two out of the three. I'll post the recipes and how-to in the days to come.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fun at the Farmers Market


On Saturday I took the kids up to the Portland State Farmer's Market. We had a tasty breakfast of biscuits and jam, sampled foods from the various booths, ate fresh berries and ran into several friends. Nate was overjoyed to see his friend Jaya. They ran, snacked and invented games. Above is a video of them playing peekaboo through a piece of "art" that looked like a cement carabiner.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Tips - Cleaning Ceiling Fans

I never seem to remember to clean anything above my eye level. The tops of doors, the tops of pictures hung on the wall, and ceiling fans. Luckily we only have one ceiling fan in the house. I remember cleaning it before, I just can't remember how long ago. We've been in our house for 6 years now so it could have been years ago...scary.

While lying in bed the other night I noticed a dust bunny hanging precariously from one of the blades. We don't ever use the fan but I decided it was time to get rid of it before it falls down on top of me in the middle of the night and I inhale it. My organizational idol Martha Stewart recommends using a pillow case to both clean the top of the fan and to catch any falling dust. All you do is place the pillow case onto a blade of the fan and wipe.

Here is the inside of the pillow case when I was finished. Pretty gross, huh?

Be sure to put a drop cloth of sheet down beneath the fan to catch any runaway dust bunnies. I caught several. I may have to put a reminder on my calendar to do this more than every few years. It was pretty icky. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

TV Countdown - update

So we've stuck to the television free weekdays and so far so good! We've been listening to music in the mornings instead of watching morning cartoons. We've had less attitude issues and a lot of spontaneous dance parties. I told the kids that they could watch a lot more on the weekend but that seems to be waning too. Yay!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

School Days

Nate started preschool yesterday. He woke up at 6 and asked every few minutes if it was time to go. Needless to say he was very excited!

Gabby was excited too. She grabbed her backpack and kept saying "school". I told her she has to stop using diapers and go in the potty to go to school. She said "no school."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Tips - Limes

Did you know that there is a trick to slicing limes? If you want wedges for squeezing and you cut them the wrong way you won't get as much juice out of the lime. Start by holding the lime standing up, stem side down and point sticking up.

Slice away! Seriously, you really will get more juice out of your lime slicing it this way. Some bartenders insist you slice the lime and discard the "core". I've tried slicing limes with and without the "core" or center and haven't noticed a difference.

Side note, when choosing limes, a green grocer told me that the thinner skinned limes are much easier to juice. I've followed his advice and I've gotten juicy limes every time!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


It's hard to believe that Summer is over and another school year has started. Nate starts school on Wednesday. Above is a picture from last school year. He asked me if he gets to ride the bus this year because he's ready to go to school on his own. He was very disappointed to learn he has a couple of years before he gets to ride a bus!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

TV Countdown

My kiddos don't watch a lot of television compared to some other kids but they definitely watch more than they need to. Above is a picture of them watching this morning. They are enjoying it while they can. We have a deal when school starts next Wednesday they can only watch on the weekends. It all sounds good now but I have a feeling there will be kicking, screaming and crying.... Wish us luck!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sea Worthy

Yesterday we celebrated our cutie-pie goddaughter's 2nd birthday. Happy birthday, Corinne!

The party had a sea theme which was fun and very age appropriate. From jelly fish decor that big sister Elise made to Swedish Fish candy "swimming" in a fish bowl. (Gabby kept giving her puppy dog-eye look to anyone near the candy dish and ended up eating over 12!)

 Even the crab dinner plates fit into the theme.

The food is always amazing at a party thrown by Holly but what I look forward to the most is what she will do with the dessert! Check out this fun assortment of desserts:

An octopus,

A sea turtle,

A cute little crab,

And my favorite, an oyster and pearl cookie. The cookie was a rich buttery shortbread, thick creamy frosting and the pearl was a Dutch mint. So yummy!

The games were also sea worthy. They had a pool filled with sea creature squeaker toys, each kid had a bucket with their name on it and a net to "fish".
We had an amazing time and wish our little "princess" a very Happy 2nd Birthday! (This is the card I made for Corinne this year. I'll have to coordinate with her mom next year so I can make it the same as the party theme.)